Interfax: Lavrov: U.S. contacted Assad government about safety of chemical stockpiles

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Interfax – MOSCOW, September 16, 2013) Before the current international diplomatic crisis over the reported chemical arms attacks in a Damascus suburb on August 21, the United States had contacted the Syrian government to find out how safe its chemical stockpiles were, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“We were working with the Syrians directly to understand the how safe it wall was. The American side – one may probably speak about this now – also made direct contact with the Syrian government for clarification on this specific issue,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russia’s Rossiya 1 television aired on Saturday evening.

“I don’t know about (President) Bashar al-Assad, but they did contact the Syrian leadership to make sure how safe the chemical weapons storage sites were,” the minister said.

Lavrov also said the presidents of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama, had agreed “to make regular exchanges via appropriate structures of assessments of the state in which the Syrian government’s chemical arsenals are.”